Bhimashankar Temple is an ancient shrine which is located in Bhorgiri village in the Western Ghat region of the Sahyadri Mountains in Maharashtra. It is situated at a height of around 3,250 feet.
Bhimashankar got its name from the two things i.e. – the river Bhima, which originates here, and Shankar( Lord Shiva).
History behind jyotirlinga :
As per the Shiv Puran, once Brahma (the Hindu God for creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God for protection) argued about creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light- ‘the jyotirlinga’. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to search downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either direction. Brahma lied that he found out where it ends, while Vishnu conceded defeat. Shiva appeared as the second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity.
Thus, the Jyotirlinga shrines are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. There are 12 Jyotirlinga in India and Bhimashankar is one of them.
I’ve been to this place twice – in monsoon and in winters. The route is mostly scenic with lush green dense forest and fog all over which is a complete pleasure to visit during the monsoons and the winter, when the weather and surroundings are at its best. However, at some places, the bumpy, uneven, and single lane road makes the journey a little difficult. It took around 4 hours for us to reach after a few taking stopovers. Therefore, make sure to start the journey a little early in the morning.
There are approximately 300 downstairs steps to reach the main temple. While going downstairs, there are multiple vendors available selling fresh fruits, sweets, food items, etc. Even there are palki facilities available for those who cannot climb the stairs.
Generally, it takes around 10 minutes to reach downstairs if there is no crowd. However, reaching inside the main hall where Jyotilinga is present, depends on the number of people standing in the queue. For us, it took around 04 hours to reach the main jyotirlinga both the times, as the queue was very long. VIP passes are also available to avoid the queue and reach directly to the main hall.
Additionally, the wildlife sanctuary is also a big attraction here which attracts photography enthusiasts from different places. It is a must-visit place for a day out.
How to reach-
- Government buses(MSRTC) also run on this route every 30 minutes from Pune starting from 0530 to 1600 every day which charges around 160 Indian rupees per person.
- Opting own vehicle will give you the luxury to make stopovers and flexibility according to the time.
- Trekking is also a good choice to reach the place. For all the trekkers and nature explorers, there are trekking routes also available to reach the top of Bhimashankar which starts from the base village of Khandas especially in monsoon season. The route is full of multiple waterfalls along with lush greenery and beautiful landscapes. Since it has become a popular adventure destination in Maharashtra, many trekkers visit here for a thrilling experience.
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit is mostly between August and February.
Distance from Pune– 110 km
Distance from Mumbai– 196 km
If you are planning to reach the place by trekking, Just make sure to tag your colorful rain jackets and shoes with grip as the route is mostly slippery. Also, do not forget to capture the beautiful moments.